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Last updated:29 May 2015

Ernest Faulkner's birthday card

November's object is a birthday card from Hyde Socialist Church to Ernest Faulkner.

Chris Clayton, volunteer, chose this month's object:

Ernest Faulkner's birthday card

"I became aware of Ernest when I started to catalogue the Hyde No-Conscription Fellowship archive. This contains many lists of members and conscientious objectors. Ernest’s name was always prominent. Other documents have helped to provide more snippets of information about him.

The Hyde Socialist Church archive shows of his involvement with them up to the 1940’s. The Faulkner archive demonstrates his long involvement with the National Council of Labour Colleges through the 1920’s. Trawling through Tameside Local Study Centre’s local newspapers for 1915 and 1916 gave me information about his appeals and trial and about the activities of the Socialist Church.

I live in Hyde, just a short distance from Bennett Street where Ernest lived after his release from prison. Before working on these documents I had little knowledge of this aspect of Hyde’s Socialist past. This unknown part of the town’s history deserves much more attention and research."

This card was sent to Ernest Faulkner on his 20th birthday in November 1915 by the members of the Hyde Socialist Church. A few months later, Ernest was to become one of the first conscientious objectors of the First World War.

In January 1916, the government passed the Military Services Act to conscript all unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 41 into the armed services. It also provided exemption for various categories of men, including those with a conscientious objection. Local Tribunals were set up to decide on their fate. Ernest appeared before the Hyde Tribunal in March 1916. He stated that he was opposed to militarism and could not take human life. His application for exemption was refused.

The Stockport Appeal Tribunal upheld this decision and ordered him to report to his regiment. This he refused to do and he was eventually arrested in May 1916, tried as a deserter, found guilty and handed over to the army. In July he faced his first court martial. Unlike the majority of conscientious objectors, Ernest was an Absolutist who refused to undertake non-combatant duties or work of national importance, and he faced a further three courts-martial before his eventual release from prison in April 1919.

Case record of Ernest Faulkner including details of arrest, court-martial and imprisonment. Hyde, 10 Jul 1916-18 Mar 1917
Letter from No-Conscription Fellowship Letter from No-Conscription Fellowship, Stockport Branch to Mr A W Burgess re E Faulkner sent to Shrewsbury prison for 1 year hard labour. 19 May 1917.
Letter from the Conscientious Objectors Information Bureau (who tried to keep track of all Conscientious Objectors during the War) to Miss Burgess re the health of Ernest Faulkner, who was still in prison, even though the war had ended in Nov 1918. 10 Feb 1919.
No Conscription Fellowship

Click here to read more about the No Conscription Fellowship

November 2009


Resources about Ernest Faulkner in the library collection

No-Conscription Fellowship: Ernest Faulkner (ORG/NCF/2/C/4)
Case record and correspondence relating to Ernest Faulkner and his arrest and imprisonment - Shelfmark: AG NCF Box 1

Ernest Faulkner collection (PP/FAULKNERE)
Paper relating to Ernest Faulkner and independent working class education - Shelfmark: AG Faulkner, Ernest